HC Deb 04 December 1973 vol 865 cc1086-7
Q5. Mr. Rost

asked the Prime Minister when he next proposes to pay an official visit to Derbyshire.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so, Sir.

Mr. Rost

If he does not visit Derbyshire soon, how will my right hon. Friend discover that many miners, despite provocative incitement from the Opposition, do not wish to bring the country to its knees or to man the barricades but would prefer a ballot so that they can accept the offer, because they understand that the country needs phase 3 just as desperately as it needs coal?

The Prime Minister

I think there is public evidence that many of the miners would like to accept stage 3. The President of the NUM himself said after the meeting at No. 10 Downing Street that he believed the time had come for a ballot, but that was not the view of the majority of the executive.

Mr. Whitehead

Is the Prime Minister aware that the people of Derbyshire are not on their knees, but that that is no thanks to the Government? Will he reconsider what he said and come up and make a jolly Christmas speech to the people of Derbyshire, telling them why an increase of almost 50 per cent. in food prices and of almost 100 per cent. in mortgages can be described as the problems of success? Will he tell them what he would have said in June 1970 if those things had happened in the last three years of the previous Government?

The Prime Minister

The people of Derbyshire are benefiting from the Government's policies, the improved standard of living and the much higher level of employment, which is something the Opposition never achieved when in office.